Allegory with Fiestaware
For a few moments there wasn’t anything else
but an evening grosbeak pressed under claws
to a branch of the nectarine tree
as the young Cooper’s hawk tore through the feathers
and flicked them into the air.
The raptor jerked his head one way, and then the other,
with each tug and swallow of the sinewy flesh.
His red eye a waning sun.
It wasn’t long until the other birds that had darted away
congregated again at the feeder.
A cluster of lesser finches around the orange Fiestaware plate
on a birdbath stand, piled with thistle and black-oil
The hawk had flown in rearward,
scooping his wings
back and up as if trying to stay afloat in water
— his legs thrust out in front.
Talons speared the fleeing bird like an hors d’oeuvre.
The yearling scours the bark for any speck of remaining flesh,
shakes his head and hops to another branch, begins to groom his plumage,
then seeing me in the window,
Beneath the tree, feathers cover the crowns
of full-seeded dandelion heads,
are caught in the crevices of bark,
nestle atop the river rock wall.
But the bones, the eyes, the feet, the beak,
all the rest of the evening grosbeak
Header photo by B. Nelson, courtesy Shutterstock.